Growing Concern Over Hospital Capacity For COVID-19 Cases

Friday, July 10th 2020, 5:16 pm
By: Emory Bryan

TULSA, Okla. -

As COVID-19 hospitalizations increase, political leaders and medical professionals are increasingly worried about hospital capacity. While most COVID-19 patients do not require hospital care, and not all of those require critical care, many hospitals are close to their capacity.

In Tulsa, the OSU Medical Center is designated as a "surge" hospital.

OSU Medical Center Chief of Staff Dr. Mousumi Som said the hospital currently has eight COVID-19 patients, with 50 rooms either ready or able to be quickly prepared for more. The hospital has 125 rooms in total that could be used for COVID-19 care, with a state contract that currently runs through July 22.

Dr. Som said while the hospital has room the question now is "will we be able to staff them appropriately? We know that after every large gathering, there is about a 10-14 day lag in hospitalizations. We expect as large group gatherings are still transpiring that the number of hospitalizations and the level of acuity will parallel these events."

Mayor G.T. Bynum said Wednesday, "The primary thing for us is protecting the integrity of the healthcare system to be able to treat those most in need."

Tulsa's largest hospital, Saint Francis, has 48 confirmed COVID-19 patients as of Friday, which is what they consider almost full.

Oklahoma's peak for hospitalizations was 560 in March and there are now 487 Oklahomans being treated as inpatients for Covid-19. The Governor's office says the capacity is 5,000. Oklahoma's capacity for intensive care beds is down to 228 available statewide, with almost 750 ventilators available; 302 of them in Tulsa County.

Wednesday, Mayor Bynum said he was beginning to hear concern from hospitals after a time of improving conditions.

"It was this week that I finally started to hear some concern not about where things stand today, but where things could go if we continue on this trajectory unchecked," said Bynum.

At OSU, Dr. Mousumi Som said the federal government has discontinued allocations of the medication Remdesivir.

"Although we still have some medications in our arsenal, there is still much that remains unknown about the progression of this disease process. This leaves healthcare workers with increased patients, increased acuity, decreasing beds, limited treatment options, limited PPE and increased exposure" said Som.